Most people are satisfied with FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication) 3D printers, as they offer a nice balance of speed, cost, and quality. But if you need to print small parts with a lot of fine detail or want a smooth surface finish, SLA (stereolithography) 3D printers are ideal. SLA 3D printers use UV lasers or light masked by an LCD screen to cure photosensitive polymer resin. They are, however, more difficult to work with and it’s recommend that you expose a printed part to strong UV light for a while in order to fully cure the resin. You can buy a UV lightbox to do that, or you can use sjm3406’s DIY lightbox controller to create your own.
This controller’s only purpose is to drive the UV LEDs inside of a sealed box in order to completely cure SLA 3D-printed parts. Those parts do partially cure while they’re being printed—that’s how they’re able to retain their form. But the resin that makes up the part isn’t done curing when you remove it from the printer. The resin is also very toxic, which means you can’t even handle your parts without protective gloves until they’re fully cured. You don’t need a UV lightbox to finish the curing, as you can simply put the part outside in the sunlight for a few hours, but it is certainly more convenient if you do.
This UV lightbox controller contains everything you need to build a curing box. It accepts 12V DC from a standard power supply and that’s used to power both the UV LEDs and the controller itself. The board is designed around an Arduino-compatible Microchip ATmega328P microcontroller. A small OLED display shows you the current settings and three buttons on the bottom of the board are used to adjust them. You can set the brightness and the amount of time you want the LEDs to remain illuminated. After it has finished running, a buzzer will sound to let you know that your part is ready. If you want to make your own UV curing box, this is a great controller for the project.